Posts Tagged ‘Upset The Rhythm’

School Damage – “Scump Damage 1”

One of last year’s favorite albums around here came from Aussie upstarts School Damage. Featuring members of Ausmuteants and Chook Race, the band captured a kind of woozy, wobbly pop that drew comparisons to The Vaselines and Young Marble Giants. Their simple, yet potent brand of post-punk was full of charms that only get deeper on their new 7” for Upset The Rhythm. The new single works under the concept of four songs about one cat – which on paper sound like it could get real twee, real fast. However, the band maintains their usual off-kilter sensibility pinning Jake Robertson’s tale of Lumpy (aka Scump) to a headrush synth line and enough jangles to stuff your socks. They continue to be top shelf Aussie exports, and this little taste only makes me want more from the band. The single is out on UTR on May 25th.



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Dog Chocolate – “Tesco Flag”

OK I’ll be the first to admit I’ve often balked at UK noise-poppers Dog Chocolate based on that name alone. It’s abhorrent, but not wholly off base on the sound of a band that’s enticing yet corrosive in nature. The band’s latest single, “Tesco Flag,” is scotch taped to a clanking rhythm that gives way to nauseous waves of synth overload, rusted through guitar tones and vocal chaos. Propulsive, disjointed and ripped to shreds by the last note, the song boasts plenty to love. The band pairs this amphetamine noise-dive with a bonkers video of the band dressed as nits tearing it up in the woods (though I suppose those trees are meant to be hair, eh). Either way it’s a corker of a song and gives me pause on my years of write-off on the band based on superficial means.


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No Babies

I’m tellin’ you it’s a banner year for post-punk and Oakland’s No Babies add another piece to the chewed glass puzzle of 2018 with their sophomore LP, Someone To Watch Over Me. The record, as with their debut, is built closer to punk’s beating heart, with frantic tempos propelling the accusatory throttle of Jasmine Watson’s vocals. The band pushes past the imaginary lines scratched in punk’s sand though, with a healthy lungful of sax skronk and some sandpaper conditioning to the guitar work of Ricky Martyr. Tracks jerk to a stop, crumple into metallic tumbles and knock all manner of jagged chunks out of the expected punk boilerplate. They remind me in a very good way of bygone Mexican punks XYX – a hole in my heart that I’m happy to fill.

The lyrics tend towards the progressive, as might befit the band’s barbed assault, working thorough screeds on consumer society, binary identity politics and police brutality. As such, in the tilt-o-whirl blur of 2018, the record has a vitality that’s palpable, delivered via sweaty as hell noise bursts bent on crumbling the roadblock consciousness of those that seek to pin them down. They’re channeling youthful exuberance into fuel for life, processing cathartic pogo politics into petrol for change. Someone To Watch Over Me, like classic works from Ni Hao or Afrirampo before it, is built on barely controlled chaos, bottled and funneled through a pinpoint at precise pressure. What sounds like an uncontrollable maelstrom from the eye of the storm is in reality a Rube Goldberg of sonic destruction when rolled back into focus. No Babies are architects of their own engine of change and working damn hard to crush the common consensus via twenty-five minutes of acid-stripped punk pummel.



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The Green Child

Sometimes it’s hard to resist a combination of favorite forces, and such is the case for The Green Child, which brings together the long-distance relationship of Raven Mahon (Grass Widow) and Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control). The duo jumps off from their inspirational namesake, Herbert Read’s 1935 utopian, communist, sci-fi novel for a sound that’s slaloming into the valley of retro-futurist synth, with a dollop of jangle. The two have mostly shed their past personas to find common ground in works that are antiseptic, but with a human heart. They dress up in the veneer of ’80s new wave, synth wave and goth and work the weave of the three into an oddly invigorating set for the dawn of 2018. If a certain measure of numbness is anthemic in the new age of world politics and daily life, then The Green Child is a magnetic beacon – part armor, part intoxicant.

The record feeds off of Young’s recent excursions into instrumental synth and it’s apparent that the same inspirations for his entry to Moniker’s “Your Move” series also fueled the bedrock of The Green Child. Though, here he’s less interested in the Kosmiche serenity than striving to balance Mahon’s distillation of icy detachment with the the proper amount of Teutonic cool. By the end, the record finds an even keel in a subdued slickness that wards off the caustic deluge of modern life. There’s something comforting in the future perfect sounds that the band rouses up out of the weeds. With the year just cracking in, The Green Child’s eponymous debut is a balm for these modern times, taking inspiration from somewhat psychedelic and strange texts, to endure some what strange and unbelievable times.





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The Green Child – “Traveler”

As the year winds down its time to get excited about 2018 recs already, and topping the list is this collab from faves Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control, Lace Curtain) and Raven Mahon (Grass Widow, Bridge Collapse). The record eschews the comfort zones of both, going for a synth-driven sound that’s dark, terse and sinewy. The pairing feels like a good fit, with the two having built the record over the last couple of years since meeting at an Oakland show in 2014. The band’s name was inspired by Herbert Read’s 1935 utopian, communist, sci-fi novel called The Green Child and the novel plays a part in some of the album’s lyrics as well.

The record features fellow traveler Al Montfort (Terry, Total Control) and finds a home on RSTB fave Upset The Rhythm January 12th. Highly Recomended!




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The World

There’s been a rash of post-punk creeping up from the gutters these days of the elastic joy ride variety. Jumping off the fertile ground that bands like ESG, Delta 5, A Certain Ratio, Maximum Joy and Au Pairs covered, the new crop has found their way to all the sandblasted bare, jitter-pop, rubber bass touchstones that made the original few so incredibly vital. What most have lacked though is the full commitment to the ’70s mantra and Downtown aesthetic. They found the grit but needed that something extra to push the paradigm to its furthest reaches. In a word, they lacked sax, and more often the paranoia a good squall could induce. The World bring both crashing down on listeners in nail biting giddy rushes that can’t elicit anything but jerking dance motions and flop sweat.

The World’s cheekily named First World Record instantly positions them among a cache of records that push punk towards new heights, absorb the anxious energy of an age and spit it back hard in the face of a populace that needs a good hard smack awake. The record is frantic, but never sloppy. It’s full of crushed aluminum edges that are rough hewn but not foreboding. Like the aforementioned Delta 5 and Maximum Joy before them they inject an vitality and tension into their work that’s incessantly itchy. They hold a cracked phone up as a mirror to a barren society that’s disorganized, disingenuous and quite possibly diseased. Still they do it with a sense of fun that’s positively infectious.

In an overstuffed 2017, this one feels like it could get lost, but its well worth some time between the speaks, jolting your week awake with blasts of horn-donked skronk and plenty of Zoloft-level anxious guitar jolts. This is probably the state of mind you need to be in to escape the misery of this foul year.




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The World – “Hot Shopper”

The World’s solidly slung EP from a short stretch back was full of taut post-punk nugs that cracked the window to their new full length for Upset The Rhythm. First single “Hot Shopper” is a spring-loaded knuckle-popper full of rubber band bass and staccato horn stabs that bring to mind Maximum Joy and A Certain Ratio. Its got a scrubbed up fidelity from the short format predecessor and bodes well for an album crackling full of the certain kind of dancefloor ozone that lived in the underground of the ’70s. If this Oakland band is missing from your radar, adjust, and quick.

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Gen Pop – “Dear Jackie”

Rising out of the ashes of the short-lived, but ferocious Vexx, Gen Pop spits out petulant noise-pop that’s chaotic and catchy. “Dear Jackie,” from the band’s debut 7″ on Upset The Rhythm, is a quick burst of shout-along punk with vocals that tumble over one another for dominance and a rumble in the rhythm that’s not without a certain ominous tension. I was sad when Vexx folded, but it’s good to know that with members MaryJane Dunphe and Ian Corrigan living on in Gen Pop, there’s hope for some more frantic tunes to come.




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Terry

RSTB is back and running after a nice vacation last week, and just in time as this week is brimming with great new releases. Melbourne’s Terry return to the fold with a new album, Remember Terry. The album generally picks up where they left off with last year’s HQ. It’s buzzing with a post-punk fever that boils over into a fugue state of countrified ambitions that set them aside from anything else in their Aussie indie scene. Their second album pushes further on all fronts, from letting in more twang to dipping further into the gnashed teeth noise of post punk’s grittier offerings.

Some of the most charming moments from Terry still come from their “gang’s all here” vocal styling, melding voices into a sing-song sway that’s easy to love and comforting as an old friend. They employ the tactic liberally, and on standouts like “Glory” it’s hard to keep the smile from forming. The Aussie underground has become its own terrain, spinning out bands that feel homespun and true in a way that hasn’t existed since the US dropped roots into its own indie/college rock boom. Al Montfort can be seen as integral to the sound, and here he’s as vital as ever, fizzing his catalog into existence with reverence to slack-pop proper and a wink to the past that fills each moment with strums and the buzz of synths. Essentially, if you liked HQ, you’ll love Remember Terry.


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Premiere: Pega Monstro – “Ó Miguel”

Lisbon duo Pega Monstro is back with a new LP for UK DIY label Upset The Rhythm. This time they’ve turned down the growl and reclined into the sunny strums of sweet-natured garage pop. It’s not a total departure from their last album, but certainly they’re entertaining the pop half of that phrase more than the garage these days. The new single, “Ó Miguel” jangles its way into your heart in barely two-minutes, but it can’t help but brighten any day. Paired with visuals from Sara Graça, the band’s video for the track comes together like a Wet Hot American Summer dance routine, silly and saccharine, but almost infectiously fun. Casa De Cima found its way out last week and if you’ve missed out, take some time to dig into the sisters’ new charmer.


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